Parenting during the digital age has its challenges. While most parents would reluctantly admit that a smartphone or a tablet is key in helping keeping a child busy (and quiet) for a few minutes, it's not exactly looked upon as a good habit. Hey, there are a lot of mom-shamers out there. But, there are other alternatives, for the everyday and celebrity parent alike. Savannah Guthrie says this is how she entertains her kids without screen time.
When asked her what one product she couldn't live without, she gave a totally relatable, albeit tongue-in-cheek answer.
"Tequila," she joked, according to People. "No, just kidding."
Pretty sure many moms have felt like this before.
It all went down at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s annual Bunny Hop, as Guthrie joined Jenna Bush Hager for a fun-filled day with the kids (who happened to be jumping all over their parents' laps), according to WWD.
Gutherie was there with her two children, daughter Vale, 4, and son Charles "Charley" Max, 2.
Her secret to keeping the kids occupied? Apparently something that's pretty easily accessible — and portable: Kids' audio books on services like Spotify and Audible.
"A lot of us don’t want to have our kids in front of the screen all the time but if you want to get anything done around the house you sometimes have to," Guthrie told People. "A good middle ground is you can find children’s audio stories on Spotify, and it’s great!"
And there's lots of title to choose from, she said.
"They can listen to Peter Pan, Cinderella, and you can do the dishes or whatever you gotta do but they still have to use their imaginations."
Guthrie is the author of her own children's book, Princesses Wear Pants, and it happens to be available on Audible for $10 (or free with 30 day trial if you're not already a member.)
The recommended amount of screen time for kids aged 2 through 5, is just one hour or less a day, according to Dr. Angela Mattke, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician who spoke with Mayo Clinic News Network.
For kids who are 5 and above, that number rises slightly to two hours or less of screen time a day.
Despite these recommendations, children between the ages of 8 and 18 spend an average of over seven hours a day looking at screens (of all kinds), according to CBS News.
Listening to audio books is certainly a way to cut down on the amount of screen time for children. It's a great way for them to relax and use their imaginations. Parents can also get involved.
If you decide to sign up for Audible, you'll get a month long free trial and your first audiobook is free. After that, an Audible membership is available for $15 a month. Spotify Premium subscriptions start a $10 a month after a 30-day free trial, and right now you can get HULU for free when signing up as a new member.
While screen time is a sure bet for occupying kids, there are alternatives that work well, if not better. And if listening to audio books with the kids is good enough for the TODAY crew, it's good enough for moms like you too.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated to clarify Audible's membership information.